By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews)
Source: Amtrak (Information)
United States of America: Amtrak has announced the cancelation of 3 long distance passenger train routes citing ‘significant impact’ from potential railroad strike.
Amtrak, which is not a party in the labor dispute, said that a strike that could begin on Friday, September 16th, 2022 could significantly impact its intercity passenger rail service, since it operates almost all of its 21,000 route miles outside the Northeast Corridor on railroad track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads.
To avoid the scenario of passengers being stranded in the event of a worker strike, Amtrak said long distance passenger train routes The Empire Builder, California Zephyr and Southwest Chief which services Downtown Needles, California, will be cancelled started on Thursday, September 15th, 2022.
The cancellation of Amtrak service in a small desert community is a lost to those hundreds of passengers that use the El Garces Train Depot for head west into California or east into Arizona and beyond.
ZachNews has not received any comments from the City of Needles on their reaction to this cancellation of Amtrak passenger trains service.
Amtrak also said that they are only operating trains this week that we can ensure will have enough time to reach their final destinations by 12:01 a.m. on Friday, September 16th, 2022.
Amtrak is reaching out to customers with tickets on the canceled routes, and will allow them to change their reservation or to receive a full refund without cancellation fees.
If a customer changes to another travel date, Amtrak said it will waive any difference in fares for departures through Monday, October 31st, 2022.
Customers can reach Amtrak by calling: 1 (800) 872-7245.
As for passenger train service for the Northeast Corridor of the United States, Amtrak said that most of the passenger trains traveling on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor – such as the Acela train that runs between Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. – won’t be impacted by the cancellations, and that the Acela will continue to run a full schedule.
But Amtrak also said only a small number of Northeast Regional departures would be impacted by the railroad strike.
Railroad workers are preparing to strike for higher pay, more generous paid leave, and a renegotiation of strict attendance policies and broader working conditions.
Railroads are trying to reach an agreement with all their other unions to avert a railroad strike before the deadline which the railroad strike would begin at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday, September 16th, 2022.
The unions aren’t allowed to strike before Friday under the federal law that governs railroad contract talks, which include BNSF, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, CSX, Kansas City Southern and the U.S. operations of Canadian National.
The unions, including Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division Union and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Union, are demanding hat CSX, Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern and the other railroads go beyond the proposed deal recommended by a group of arbitrators United States President Joe Biden appointed, and want the railroads to address concerns about strict attendance policies that they say make it hard to take any time off and increasing workloads after the railroads cut nearly one-third of the railroad workforces in recent years which workers say have made a difficult job even harder.
If the 2 sides – the unions and railroads – can’t agree on a deal by the end of the week, the railroad strike will have an impact on those who rely on the railroad to move and deliver raw materials, finished products including vehicles, hauling fertilizer and other agricultural products, and even packages.
Last week, the Association of American Railroads trade group put out a report estimating that the economy the strike would take a $2 billion a day hit if the trains stop moving and passenger traffic would be disrupted nationwide because Amtrak and many commuter railroads use tracks owned by the freight railroads.
The White House said United States President Joe Biden and members of his Cabinet have been in touch with both sides in order to avert a railroad strike.
Well the clock is ticking away before the start of the railroad strike on Friday, the mood of concern and worry is present in this small railroad desert community; many people are concerned and worried how this railroad strike will affect the workers’ lives and their families, and how this will affect their community.
Many people living in Needles, California hope that the issues being raised by railroad workers get resolve before a railroad strike begins, but if a railroad strike occurs, support for all railroad workers is present in the community.
We will find out what happens on Friday, stay tuned.